Friday, February 10, 2012

Welcome to Seekerville Barbara White Daille

How Do You Like Your Heroes?

Hi, y'all!  I'm glad to be back and am throwing out a big thanks to Mary for inviting me to chat and to talk about writing.  We're also here to celebrate my new release, THE RODEO MAN'S DAUGHTER (February 2012), which just debuted on Tuesday!

Last time I visited, we had a great discussion about children as story characters.  Now, I'd like to move on to some grownup talk.  (smile)  Please remember, everything I say is only my humble opinion.  Take what works for you and leave the rest. 

Since we're all in a romance-y, Valentine-y mood, I'd like to focus on one of the most important characters in a romance novel—the hero.  Just as it takes all kinds to make a world, we love to read about different types of heroes.  In romance novels, we've got everything from boy-next-door best friends to bad boys you can't bring home to mama.  I love 'em all!

And I've written a few of each.

But I—and we—have to go beyond types.  We have to get to the hearts and minds of our heroes.  That's how, for example, even though we may read about dozens of different bad boys, we can love each and every one.  We get inside them and see what ticks.  We do the same for boy-next-door heroes.  And if we read vampires or shapeshifters or alien heroes, we connect with them by getting to know them, too.

The best way to explain is to give you some examples, and since I know my own writing best, here we go.  First, a little background on the book:

THE RODEO MAN'S DAUGHTER is set in Flagman's Folly, New Mexico, and tells the story of ex-rodeo star Caleb Cantrell.

After growing up dirt-poor and looked down upon by folks in town, Caleb took off while he was still a teen, headed for fame and fortune.  A near-fatal injury destroys his rodeo dreams, and he returns to his hometown with the goal of settling scores with the folks who’d done him wrong and then leaving them all behind for good.  Despite his rocky reunion with his high-school sweetheart, he finds his interest in her still going strong.  All of a sudden, he's got a hankering to hang around.

So.  We have a hero out for revenge—which makes him not such a sympathetic character, right?  Trust me, I worried about that.  And I felt I'd better try to let the reader see right up front that Caleb's got reasons for his actions.

Here's a clip that appears only a few paragraphs after the opening of the book.  He has just set foot in Flagman's Folly again after a ten-year absence:

After he'd left there, he'd slept in no-tell motels, lived out of tour buses and trucks and, eventually, spent time in luxury hotels.  Didn't matter where you went, you could always tell the folks who took pride in ownership from the ones who didn't give a damn.

Even here, you could spot the evidence.  Not a ritzy neighborhood, not a small community, just a collection of ramshackle houses and tarpaper shacks.  A few had shiny windows and spindly flowers in terra-cotta pots.  Some had no windowpanes at all. Here and there, he noted a metal-sided prefab home with too many coats of paint on it and weeds poking through the cinder blocks holding it up.

And somewhere, beyond all that, he knew he'd find a handful of sun-bleached trailers, their only decoration the cheap curtains hanging inside.  The fabric blocked the view into the units through the rusty holes eaten into their sides.

Sometimes, the curtains blocked sights no kid should see, of mamas doing things no mama should do.

Swallowing hard, he retreated a pace, as if he'd felt the pull of one rust-corroded hulk in particular. It wouldn't still be there.  It couldn't.  But he had no intention of going over there to make sure.


End of that clip.  Now, with luck, the reader understands a bit more about Caleb and—even if she doesn't buy into his need for revenge yet—she wants to know more, enough to turn the page.  (Where she'll listen in on his conversation with a little boy that turns the screw another notch and really ought to make her feel for Caleb.  (smile))

At the other end of the spectrum is the boy-next-door hero, the one who is always there for the heroine.  He stays in the background but close by—which comes in very handy when he's ready to take center stage!

A good example of this is Ben Sawyer, the hero of the next Flagman's Folly book, HONORABLE RANCHER, coming in August 2012.  He's been in love with Dana...well, for a while now.  ;)  You'll see in this next clip here.  Again, it comes close to the beginning of the story.  Ben and Dana are groomsman and matron of honor in their friends' wedding party:


Dana was no Cinderella.  She hadn't left a shoe behind.  Hadn't even dropped a button from that pink dress as something for him to remember her by.  As if he could ever forget her.

She'd been the heroine of a story he'd once created long ago, a story he'd had to write in his head because he hadn't yet known how to spell all the words.

How did it go?  Like in his niece's storybook...

Once upon a time, that was it.

Once upon a time, in the Land of Enchantment—otherwise known as the state of New Mexico—Benjamin Franklin Sawyer had high hopes and a huge crush on the girl who sat one desk over from him in their classroom every day.

No other girl in town, Ben felt sure, could beat Dana Smith, and most likely no other woman in the world could compare to her, either.  In any case, without a doubt, she was the cutest of all his female friends in their kindergarten classroom.

Unfortunately, when the teacher moved his best friend, Paul Wright, to the desk on the other side of Dana's, Ben saw his hopes dashed.

The crush, however, continued.  For a good long while.


Again, I hope that entices the reader to care enough about Ben to keep reading.  Because, you see, even though he's the oh-so-vanilla boy-next-door, he's got a secret and a problem:  he's in love with Dana.  But Dana's his best friend's wife.

Though there's more to it than that, at first glance, he sure doesn't come across as the HONORABLE RANCHER of the book's title, does he?  And I'm betting the Ben's desires will be in the blurb on the back cover.  (smile)  So I wanted to give the reader that insight into Ben's history early on.

And there you have it!  Sort of a crash course on some things to keep in mind when you're crafting a hero.

Hope that was helpful.  If you've got any comments or questions, toss 'em out here!

And let's get the party going!
Originally from the East Coast, award-winning author Barbara White Daille now lives with her husband in the warm, sunny Southwest.  Find her online at  
Friend her at:

To celebrate her new release, THE RODEO MAN'S DAUGHTER (February 2012), Barbara is giving away an autographed copy of A RANCHER'S PRIDE, the first Flagman's Folly book.  To be entered in the drawing, leave a comment/question here today. 

Barbara wants to give you lots of time so she'll leave the contest open until VALENTINES DAY. We'll announce the winner of Barbara's book on Seekerville on Saturday, Feb. 18th.


  1. So many heroes so little time. Ahhh.

  2. Sounds interesting and I would like to know more about both hero's. Please don't enter me.

  3. Hi Barbara!!

    WOW! I'm such a sucker for the wounded hero and the bad boy. And what you said about aliens and vampires... I think I've mentioned this here before, but Holly Black wrote 'Valiant' and the hero is a big troll! Seriously! Not like Shrek, but tall and lanky and GREEN. And he's amazing. Honorable, honest, a protector. If you can make your reader fall in love with a TROLL, then you know your heroes.

    I just loved these excerpts because if you said I'd get attached to someone who was bitter and out for revenge, I'd say 'no way'! But that little bit made me want to give him a chance after all.

    Makes me want to go tinker with my hero de jour!

  4. Hello, again, Barbara!

    This is why I love Barbara's books, folks. Ah, those heroes.

    Enter me.

    Peace, Julie

  5. Barbara, you manage to pack deliciously delightful FULL stories into shorter books.

    This is not an easy task and few do it as well as you. Thank you so much for comin' over today, hangin' with us! It's just plain wonderful to have you here!

    I've got the coffee set up, fresh and hot, flavored and straight.

    Danish, muffins, breakfast sandwiches off to the side. And a fresh fruit platter to die for.

    I'm skipping the cottage cheese and going straight to CHOCOLATE for our visitors today, because it is the pre-Valentines Day weekend!!! SUH-WEEEEET! ;)

    Welcome aboard, Barbara! And I'm lovin' me a little American Romance this day! Feeling very patriotic saying that, too! ;)

  6. Hi Barbara, Welcome to Seekerville. Great to have you aboard. Thanks for the intro to your heroes and reminding us of the importance of crafting them well.

    Barbara is from my neck of the woods (or should I say desert) and her new series is set in New Mexico so let's welcome her with a Southwest feast.

    We have breakfast burritos made with blue corn tortillas, chorizo and onions, papas, eggs and of coarse great Oaxaca cheese.

    And sliced oranges from my tree for you fruit lovers. There are also sliced mangoes and papayas.

    Have fun today Barbara.

  7. Mary Cline said it so well! Love your book covers, Barbara!

    These heroes are so delightful too.

  8. Barbara,
    Yes. We love men!

    I don't think I've ever read your books but I'd love to.

    Please enter my name into the drawing


  9. Hi Barbara,

    I think I'm half in love with your heroes already!

    I've always loved the bad boy hero. I think it's because when they do something sweet it makes it all the sweeter due to their tough exterier. Kind of like an M&M, tough outer shell and sweet inside. :o)

    Always enjoy your books and I can't wait to read the new one.


  10. Barbara, welcome back to Seekerville! Oooo, I love talking heros...any kind of long as they're heroic, LOL!

    Well, you accomplished your mission, you grabbed me with the first couple of paragraphs of each book and made me root for the hero, even if he starts out not quite THAT heroic.

    I'm dropping off a plate of ooey,gooey cinnamon rolls for calorie-free Friday. . .a girl can wish, can't she??

  11. I am hoping to win the book cause I would love to see how you resolve the 'in love with best friend's husband' and keep the hero from looking like an the conflict.

  12. Welcome Barbara! It sounds as if you enjoy, as much as I do, the peeling back of the layers of your heroes to reveal their wounded hearts!

    As a transplant to the Southwest myself, I'll definitely have to check out your neighboring New Mexico books. What WONDERFUL COVERS that say "pick me up and read me!"

    So happy to see the breakfast burritos this morning, Sandra -- I'm starving! I'm contributing a big bowl of fresh homemade pico de gallo! (I'm still astonished that when we were at ACFW in Denver the breakfast bar didn't serve SOME type of salsa on the side with the scrambled eggs! Even the Hampton Inns in the Southwest provide salsa packets with their quicky complimentary breakfasts.

  13. Barbara, your heroes sound like they have depth. I love that. I appreciate some of your "how-to's" you shared. Loved how you solved the problem of hard-to-like characteristic in Caleb by giving a glimpse of what made him that way. Thanks for the tips!

  14. Barbara!!!! This is too funny! I have a similar hero. Only he and his best friend didn't grow up together. They're military buds - the kind who would toss themselves in front of grenades to protect the other kind of best buds. Naturally, I'm already in love with Ben and WANT TO KNOW THE STORY!!! :D

    My problem is making the hero too heroic, I think. Not human enough. It's the ultra-romantic believe in prince charming and happily-ever-afters bug in me. Any tips?

  15. Character flaws such as being revengeful or in love with another man's wife make hero's REAL. When the reader understands the motivation behind these flaws it creates empathy and love for the hero.

    Well done! I'd love to read more. Please enter me in the drawing.



    And, oh my, talking about one of my (and every other romance reader on the planet) FAVORITE subjects!!!

    Excellent clips, and you nailed it on each one AND helped me in the process. I am in the middle of trying to endear a fortune hunter to my readers, which is not a particularly easy thing to do, but thank God for backstory and internal monologue to give the reader a glimpse into the whys and hows of a person's character!

    AND thank God for Donald Maas's "Writing the Breakout Novel" workbook tip of "raising the stakes" because hopefully it will help me to accomplish what you did so handily in those clips and take my fortune-hunter hero's motivation to the next level! I realize I am going to have to ramp it up so that even a man bent on marrying for money will, hopefully, come off as an appealing hero before I am through. Wish me luck!!

    Fun post, Barbara, thank you!!


  17. Welcome back to Seekerville!

    Your heroes sound wonderful! I know Julie's a fan of the bad boy hero ;). I tend to prefer the boy next door. :D

    I'd love to have a chance to win the books!


  18. Welcome Barbara. Loved your post.

    Shows that you can create a to-die-for hero from either end of the good-boy/bad-boy spectrum and make the reader care deeply.

    Sure, I want a strong, smart, pretty (in the hero's eyes...eventually) heroine, but if the author hits all the right markers with the hero, I'm hooked BIG time.

  19. Thanks for sharing about your heroes. Bad boys can be so nice to write about, but so can good boys. I like a mix of both.

    I love my heroes cried when I killed one off. But it had to be done.

  20. These both sound like great books, thank you for hosting the giveaway.


  21. Thanks, Barbara! I like talking about heroes! And yours sound really good!

    I like passionate heroes, heroes that excite the reader's compassion and admiration, honorable men who aren't afraid to stand up to any bully, and who believe in justice and going the extra mile. My newest hero is my first real Alpha male. My other heroes have been deep thinkers, musicians and artists and irresponsible little brothers trying to prove themselves worthy. But my newest hero is all male, a guy who wants to beat his competition, and that's pretty much his single-minded thought process in its entirety. So I'm having a little trouble making him a well-rounded character. I don't want him to come across as one-dimensional. Any advice for me?

  22. Barbara, welcome back! I love the excerpts you've shared. Love these heroes!! You've done an excellent job of setting them up to be sympathetic.

    Thanks for the great post!

  23. Hi Barbara! BEN sounds lovely, and I'd love to read about him.

    Crafting a hero is tough, since mine in my YA manuscript isn't QUITE a man, as he is only 17. I'm showing glimmers of the man he will be be in a few years, but I have to blend it with the teenager he still is. But he's definitely NOT a bad boy. He's literally the boy next door in this story :)

  24. Hi Barbara. Great examples. I have a tendency to write good boy heroes. I wonder what that says about the men I've encountered? lol...Isn't the saying, 'We write what we know?' With this new insight, maybe I will make sure my next hero has some baggage and a temper too. See if I can get some sparks going.

    Will gladly accept some virtual chockie (that's what my Aussie two-year old grandson calls chocolate, but not sure how to spell it...Tips AusJenny?)


    Yes, I'm shouting! Not to be rude, but because I'm excited to be back here again.

    Y'all just give me the warmest welcomes--and provide the best goodies to eat! ;)

    Off to respond to comments and to see what's on the menu.


  26. Welcome to Seekerville, Barbara. Your excerpts were fabulous and made me care what happens to these two very different heroes.

    Any tips for how you go about getting to know your hero indepth?


  27. Mary - SO true. Wish I could do nothing but read all day.

  28. Ausjenny - thanks so much!

    I'd hoped those little snippets would whet people's appetites. 'Cause I have to admit, I find both those heroes yummy. ;)

  29. Hi, Virginia!

    You know, that's just it. If we motivate our characters well enough, our readers should love them--even if they're Swamp Things. LOL

    And thanks *so much* about being willing to give Caleb a chance. That gives me hope other readers will feel the same. ;)

    Really, in the long run, Caleb is SUCH a worthy hero.

  30. Hey, Julie! Good morning.

    And yes, I do love me my heroes, too. ;)

  31. Ahh, Ruthie - word must've gotten out that I'm a chocoholic, huh? Heading over there in just a second.

    But first...I appreciate the compliment. Your kind words really touched me. And coming from a wonderful writer like yourself, they're even more special.

    Thanks a bunch!

  32. Sandra - howdy, neighbor! Thanks for the warm welcome and all the wonderful food.

    I feel right at home here, as always. You can bet I'll have fun today. ;)

  33. I'm just feeling like I've gotten to know my current hero fully and my heroine along with him.

    It's always fun trying to create a real character in the book, make the three dimensional. Make them come alive.

    This was good for my creative juices, Barbara.

  34. Tina - yes, Mary C did say it all. (Or...guess I'd better say Mary Cline since there are a couple of Mary C's around here.)

    Thanks for the cover compliment. I've been very, very lucky, starting with the ADORABLE cover for my first book.

    Glad you liked my heroes, too!

  35. Connie - yes, we've gotta love our romance heroes, don't we?

    Good luck in the drawing.

    And if you do check out my books, I hope you like them.

  36. I'm doing a book signing in a chocolate store tomorrow.
    I'm not trying to promote it, I'm just hungry.
    All this chocolate talk, mixed with Valentine's Day talk is not good for my hungry tummy.

    But I'll endure it the best that I can. :)

  37. Kirsten - aww...I'm so happy to hear you enjoy my books. You've just made my day.

    Love the M&Ms analogy--and not *only* because I love chocolate. LOL

    But you're so right. Those bad boys are just waiting for whatever will crack the shell so we can see how good they are inside.

    Thanks for the great comparison!

  38. Audra - you've brought my second breakfast favorite after chocolate--cinnamon! The ooey-er and gooey-er the better.

    And of course! There are never any calories in food on Friday, are there? ;)

    Thank you, too, for saying those short clips grabbed you. Looks like I *have* done my job, haven't I? ;)

  39. Hi, Eileen - you're definitely in the drawing--good luck!

    But I'll just clarify, since it gets confusing when I talk about three books at once.

    All three are set in Flagman's Folly, New Mexico.

    The drawing is for A RANCHER'S PRIDE, the first Flagman's Folly book.

    The "best friend's wife" book--HONORABLE RANCHER--will be out in August. ;)

    And this is release week for the current book--THE RODEO MAN'S DAUGHTER (February).

  40. Glynna - yes, I really do enjoy peeling away those layers to find the heart of the characters underneath.

    And I never mind shouting to the rooftops how lucky I've been with all my cover. Thanks!

    Thanks for bringing the pico de gallo, too!

  41. Jeanne - you're very welcome. I'm glad you found my thoughts helpful.

    And that you liked the glimpse into Caleb's past.

    Happy writing!

  42. Loved both of your heroes, Barbara! Although I have to say Caleb intrigues me more than Ben - I'm looking forward to seeing how you turn his bad boy attitude into real hero quality (and I have no doubt you will!)

    The challenge I gave myself in my WIP is that the hero appeared in my first book as the kind of doofy guy the girl doesn't want to marry, even though everyone else thinks it's the perfect match. So in the second book I need to turn him from doofy in the first heroine's eyes to hero quality in the second heroine's eyes. What helps is that I really do like the guy :) He's definitely the boy-next-door, but with a wounded past that he won't reveal to anyone - except maybe the right girl.

    I'm helping myself to the full spread on the breakfast buffet this morning. I love these no-calorie meals!

  43. Mary Connealy, I'd show up at your book signing if I could! Chocolate AND a chance to get a SIGNED Mary Connealy book? What a great combination!

    And did I mention how great it was to return from my hyper stressful trip a couple weeks ago and find a package in the mail from the one and only Mary Connealy? You made my return home all the sweeter, Mary! Thank you.

  44. Mary - what are you working on now? Seth and Callie's story is already turned in isn't it?

    Because it's gonna be way too long as it is! Did finish In Too Deep this morning though and itching for the end of the trilogy.

    Er, back to Barb... I did try writing a bad boy hero once. It didn't work so well... Will leave that for others for now I think... ;)

  45. Linnette - your idea sounds great!

    And I'm glad you want to know Ben's story, too. That one will be out in August.

    Till then, Caleb will have to hold your interest. ;)

    Onto your question. Grab some coffee and something to eat--we'll be here for a while. LOL

    Please bear in mind the following is IMHO.

    I so believe in the prince-charming-happily-ever-after story, too. (See my excerpt from Ben's story again for proof of that!)

    And I think you've hit the probelm on the head about characters who are too heroic or not human enough.

    The thing is, many readers (myself included), want to step into a heroine's shoes and fall in love with a hero.

    We wouldn't want the heroines to be perfect--because *we're* not. But the above gives us more justification for making our heroes perfect, doesn't it? Who wouldn't want to find and fall for the perfect man!

    BUT perfection can be hard to live with after a while.

    One way to show a character is human is to reveal something in the character that we can relate to. That could be a fairly common feeling or belief, such as Caleb's need to prove himself. It could also be something in the character's history, as shared in the clip that tells about Caleb's past.

    The other thing that can work is to show the character has a weakness or vulnerability. For example, Superman and kryptonite. Or maybe Ben's weakness for Dana since kindergarten. ;)

    What I guess I'm taking the long way to say is that readers need to identify with our characters. And that's a process.

    Giving our story people something of the above is the way to make them more human.

    Making them more human then makes them more real to us.

    Finally, when the characters become real to us, we're willing to root for them. To feel for them. And to fall in love with them.

    Make sense?

    Hope some of that was helpful!

  46. I see lots more comments and questions ahead, and I'm looking forward to more chatting.

    But duty calls...and so does the breakfast buffet over in the corner....

    I'm taking a break and will be back soon. Keep those messages coming!

  47. Loved the clips, Barbara! And who doesn't love a handsome cowboy? Thanks for sharing your insights into bringing heroes to life.

    I know from experience the challenges of making a flawed main character likable. It's so important to introduce their good qualities early on, before hitting their flaws too hard. And motivation is everything!

  48. Bridgett - OMGosh! I should've read your comment before I typed my previous response. LOL

    Glad you like the excerpts, and good luck in the drawing!

  49. Hi, Julie - if I haven't said it before, let me state I'm thrilled to be back here!

    Yes, I do see where you have a challenge with a fortune-hunting hero.

    In a case like yours--and Caleb's--the WHY (motivation) he's doing what he's doing is critical.

    Knowing nothing about your story and off the top of my head, I'd say watch for the WHAT, too. What is he planning to do when he succeeds?

    Because if it's a good enough goal, the reader will stick with him until he achieves what he wants.

    Of course, I wish you good luck!

    And I'm glad the post helped.

  50. Mary Cline, I love your sentiment, LOL!

    I love wounded heroes. When I read Barbara's second clip, it was like finding myself in a Deb Smith novel and that's a rare occurrence in category. The NICE thing about writing category is that you have no time to let the reader languish in what-ifs... And I've actually learned that's a good thing, that too much drama is just as annoying as too rushed a story.

    But that balance???

    Oh, that's a tough line, because one person's balance is another person's annoyance.

    Barb, I love that strong image of the downtrodden housing, the neglect, the poverty. You nailed it for me.

  51. Hi, Carol - you know, I'm so torn between liking the bad boy and the boy next door--and heck, all the other kinds of boys that fill our romances--I'm just glad I don't have to choose only one. LOL

    Thanks! And good luck in the drawing.

  52. Hi, Pam - thanks for the welcome.

    And for the wonderful comments. I so agree--we can love our heroines all we want, but it's when we meet the heroes that we fall hard!

    I'm glad you find my heroes to-die-for. ;)

  53. Tina - I would cry, too. I can be happy to see a villain killed off but can't imagine letting a good guy go.

    My first experience was with Beth in LITTLE WOMEN. Talk about crying! That was heartbreaking to my 9-year-old self.

    But back to happier thoughts--and heroes. Yes, bad boys or good ones, they're lots of fun to write about. ;)

  54. wfnren - you're welcome!

    Thanks for the comment, and good luck in the drawing.

  55. Hi Barbara, great tips on letting the reader know things up front so the hero is sympathetic! Both books sound wonderful!

    Eva Maria Hamilton at gmail dot com

  56. Makes perfect sense, Barbara! I think I do that. I think the current problem I have is that I don't have enough of the hero's pov, so the reader can't get into his head and know that he's struggling. He's one of those who almost always does the right thing, but nobody sees the struggle they hide so well. So, I think I just need to let the reader into his head a little more. Thanks for the sage advice! I will definitely work to keep that in mind as I write my heros.

    It's kind of funny because so many people will say, there just aren't any guys our there like that anymore. I just look at them disbelieving. They simply haven't met my sons, yet. There's a mother at the karate dojo who is so "wowed" by my boys. She keeps telling me she hopes her son grows up to be such a fine young man. I get many similar comments. Having said that, they are VERY human!!! Believe me, they are! But they are also very heroic in so many ways. Maybe I should write a book for each of them. ;-) LOL

  57. Hi, Melanie - it's tough to show dimension in some complete Alpha males, because they're totally focused and driven--as you're finding out.

    I would say try to find another facet of him, maybe another way he uses his strength or drive that is NOT connected to his main focus.

    Or swing in the opposite direction altogether and find a facet that doesn't relate to his strength or drive at all.

    I always remember what a shock it was when I heard Rosey Grier (spelling?)--a big, hulking football player--did needlepoint. You can't find more of a contrast than that!

    Some off-the-top of my head thoughts...

    For a hero who wants to be the best and beat everyone around him...maybe put him in a place where competition is not allowed.

    Or a place where he can nurture instead of annihilate. For example, have him volunteer at a local community vegetable garden.

    Hope those help stimulate some ideas. Good luck!

  58. Oh, and Melanie - I'm glad you think my heroes sound really good! LOL

    Hope you'll check them out.

  59. Missy - thanks for the welcome back.

    And you're so welcome, too.

    I'm very happy--and honored--to know you enjoyed the brief excerpts of my heroes.

    Thanks for sharing that with me!

  60. Stephanie - when it comes to YA heroes, I think they're even better when they're boy-next-doors!

    And if Caleb's not your cup of tea, I'm glad you'll still have Ben. ;)

  61. Hi, Lyndee - I just know I'll enjoy chocolate no matter how it's spelled!

    As for writing what we know and running into good boys...I had to LOL. That's mostly my experience, too.

    So I just make things up. ;)

  62. Barbara, I will definitely try to get a copy. I especially like the sound of your August release. :-)

    Thanks for you tips. I am picturing my rugged, driven hero planting vegetables, his bare arms covered in dirt up to his elbows. A very nice picture, I must say.
    I am trying to play up his vulnerability, as he's never been very successful with women--just everything else. Right now the bad guy has kidnapped the girl he wanted to ask to marry him. He can't fail or his girl will end up a victim of his enemy, but my hero fears failing the girl he loves. He also has a soft spot for his sisters, so maybe that helps endear him to the reader.

  63. Melanie, when is this one due out? I love what you're doing with your hero!

  64. Janet - thanks for the welcome.

    I'm so thrilled to hear you say the excerpts made you care about my heroes. I've done my job. ;)

    As for getting to know the characters, I've tried writing bio/description sheets but haven't had much luck. I know a lot of people who swear by them, though.

    Other writers will interview their characters.

    You can also do writing exercises where you put your character into a situation and just write to see what happens and how he handles it.

    The only trouble with that is, I want to keep the material--but it doesn't always fit with the book.

    Hope some of that helps.

  65. Hey, Mary C!

    I'm glad the excerpts got your imagination going!

    Everything helps when it comes to making our characters more real.

  66. Mary C again - OMGosh! A booksigning in a chocolate store??

    Could anything be better than that?

  67. Jan - it's sometime the heroes that seem the most unheroic who turn out to be the best.

    And of course the thing to remember, too, is that every man will be different in every heroine's eyes. I'm sure you'll pull this story off.

    Just as I hope I've succeeded in turning Caleb from bad boy to hero. You'll have to let me know. ;)

    Thanks for dropping in!

  68. Carol - we have to write what works for each of us.

    If bad boys aren't your thing...luckily, there are plenty of good ones to go around. ;)

  69. Welcome to Seekerville, Barbara! I love wounded heroes and beta heroes. I'm not so taken with alpha, macho heroes. Well, in books they're fine, but not in real life!

  70. Back, where was I?

    I meant to tell you folks, let me know if I skip anyone, please.

    On to comments...

  71. Myra - there you are!

    You're right. Motivation is key.

    And it's true what they say, experience is the best teacher, isn't it?

    Thank you for the comments. And I'm glad you enjoyed the clips.

  72. Ruth - I wrote what Caleb gave me from his life, and it made me understand him. I hope the reader can relate to him, too. Judging by your comment, you do. Thanks so much for that.

    You're right about balance. It's so hard to find--in everything to do with writing. And sometimes you can't find it.

    Even today, we're seeing people who choose Caleb over Ben, and vice versa. All for reasons of their own.

    So, if we can't please everyone, we need to at least please ourselves. And then hope that others will read the books and find the parts they can relate to.

  73. I am late getting here but wow do you have a treat for us today, HERO's, I think we all want one. your books look fantastic and these guys look yummy to me too. I have not read your books Barbara but would like to be in your drawing and find out little more about your type of writing.
    thanks for sharing your thoughts today and your giveaway.
    Paula O(

  74. Ruth again - I have to say, this gave me a little chill:

    << I love wounded heroes. When I read Barbara's second clip, it was like finding myself in a Deb Smith novel and that's a rare occurrence in category. >>

    Thanks so much. I'm honored.

    I'll confess I haven't yet read her work, but maybe I should.

    A reviewer said something similar about my previous book, A RANCHER'S PRIDE.

  75. Eva - thanks a bunch! I'm glad you found my thoughts helpful.

  76. Linnette - I'm glad the suggestions were helpful.

    And it sounds like you have great fodder for your books right in your daily life.

    I think that's where we get many of our ideas; we just blend real people and events together.

    Good luck!

  77. Let me clarify that previous answer to Linnette--we don't just plunk reality into our books.

    We blend PARTS OF real people to get characters.

    And PARTS OF real events to get stories.

    But y'all knew that.

  78. Melanie - thanks! I hope you enjoy whatever books you're able to get.

    And it sounds like you're well on your way with your hero.

    I'm happy to know my suggestions helped. ;)

  79. Cara - thanks for the welcome.

    I'm not so hot on Alpha, either--at least when writing them.

    Though Caleb is tough to me, he's probably half Teddy bear to readers who like true Alphas. LOL

    But he's definitely a wounded hero.

    I love those kinds, because it's so heartwarming to see them recover from their wounds.

  80. Hi, Paula - thanks bunches!

    I love talking heroes--and I will confess right here and now, I LOVE all mine. LOL

    Good luck in the drawing.

  81. Okay, as of Paula's comment, I believe I'm caught up.

    Again, if I missed someone, it was completely unintentional. Just give me a holler.

    And don't forget, as Mary said, we're keeping the drawing open through Valentine's Day. ;) I'll be in and out.

    For now, I'm leaving you with a double-fudge cheesecake and a platter of chocolate-mint brownies. Well, where did you think I went when I took those breaks earlier today????

    And it's all no-calorie, of course--it's Friday!

  82. BARBARA SAID: "Knowing nothing about your story and off the top of my head, I'd say watch for the WHAT, too. What is he planning to do when he succeeds?"

    Boy, woman, you are SPOT ON!! My fabulous agent Natasha Kern actually brought this to my attention with a GREAT "What," so I am EXCITED!!


  83. Julie - wow! Sometimes I surprise myself. LOL (Just kidding!) It does make me feel good to know I'm on track once in a while, though. ;)

    That's awesome about Natasha's suggestion! Best of luck with the book!!

  84. Hi Barbara! I guess I'm the late arrival, LOL - - but just wanted to say thanks for this post today, and your heroes on the book covers look SOOO handsome *sigh*. ~ If anyone needs an evening snack, enjoy the Georgia Peach poundcake I brought! Blessings, Patti Jo :)

  85. Hi, Patti Jo - thanks for the comment--I love my yummy heroes. ;)

    As for being late, no worries. Since the drawing's on till Valentine's Day, I'm here all weekend and then some. In other words, till the questions and comments run out. (Although I am signing off for the night soon; will be back tomorrow.)

    And I just made a cup of tea, so your timing with the pound cake is perfect!

  86. I love the fact that heroes come in all shapes & sizes, as it were. A great post thank you.


  87. I like that heroes can come from both sides of the tracks. If all heroes were cookie-cutter formula types... what fun would that be?
    twinwillowsfarm at gmail dot com

  88. Good morning again, Seekerville!

    Everybody sleeping in on Saturday?

    I've brought some Danish--apple, cherry, and cheese.

    Off to chat!

  89. Marybelle - thanks so much. I'm glad you enjoyed the post.

    And a wide variety of heroes "speak" to me, so I'm very happy to be able to write all their stories.

  90. Hi, Pegg! You're so right. If all our characters were cookie-cutter, the books would become very...similar. ;)

    I love that heroes--and heroines--can come from all walks of life. It makes the books much more interesting for me to write--and, hopefully, for y'all to read.

    Thanks for dropping in!

  91. Oh this sounds like a great book. I would love to read this. Thanks for the chance to win.


  92. Hi, Rebecca - thanks so much for the compliment!

    And best of luck in the drawing.

  93. Thanks, Barbara!

    Couldn't get back until today. We had RC Sproul speaking at our Church last night and this morning for a small conference, so I've been off and running. :D One thing I love about writing is how we can and do take things from real life - all over the spectrum, and blend them into our own unique stories. And, yes, I have great fodder here at home. :D

  94. Linnette - unique is right. I love it that no two stories will ever come out the same, even if they start with the same character or incident.

    Sounds like you're having a busy--but wonderful--weekend. Enjoy! And thanks for taking time out of it to stop by.

  95. Woo, Barbara. Thanks for those yummy heroes!

    I love both types as well, so thank goodness we have authors that like to write both!

    I must say I am LOVING Missy's hero, Mark Ryker, right now. Bad boy come back to make amends and everyone is SO MEAN! Makes me want to smack them all silly! LOL.

    Great job, Missy. I'm right at the black moment and I'm taking a break to savor it before I rush the ending!

    Off to see "THE VOW" with my girlfriend tonight. Heard rumors that it's not a HEA so at least I'm prepared. As long as no one dies at the end, for heaven's sake. That, I can't take.

    Have a great weekend.

    sbmason at sympatico dot ca

  96. Sue - you're very welcome, and thanks back at ya!

    Sounds like Mark deserves his happy ending. Unlike what you've heard about the movie...

    But I hope you enjoy that, too.

  97. Hi Barbara,
    Thanks so much for explaining how you construct your heroes.
    Want to know more!!

  98. Laura - you're very welcome.

    And wanting to know more is a very good thing. ;) Thanks!